Golf: Western Division champ Diamond Bar ready for CIF-SS Finals

By Keith Lair Staff Writer
A blizzard in Desert Hot Springs?
After Monday’s CIF-Southern Section golf divisional tournaments, that is what Diamond Bar High School coach Ty Watkins hopes will happen on Thursday.
“Some of our kids say they play better in those conditions,” Watkins said of treacherous conditions. “They seem to like to play well in those type of conditions.”
The Brahmas played well in a pouring rain on Monday, winning the Western Division tournament at Sierra La Verne Country Club.
“The kids played fantastic in horrible conditions,” he said.
But the chances of rain and snow are extremely unlikely for the CIF-SS finals, and CIF-SCGA State regional qualifier on Thursday morning at Mission Lakes Country Club in Desert Hot Springs. With sun forecast for the rest of the week, it’s likely about all the Brahmas can root for would be unpredictable Santa Ana winds.

Arcadia and Damien also advanced to the 21-team finals. The top four teams from the one-day tournament, which has an 8 a.m. shotgun start, advance to the regionals on May 30 at Brookside Golf Course.

Diamond Bar’s top five golfers shot a 9-over par 364, led by sophomore Jefferson Kao, who was low medalist with Orange Lutheran’s Blake Barens, both with 2-under-par 69s.

Diamond Bar won by 15 strokes and beat some of the best teams in Southern California, including Mater Dei, Servite, Lutheran and Palos Verdes.

Kao’s ability to stay on the fairway was the difference in his tie for low honors, Watkins said.

“He made a lot of sense by trying to keep the ball on the fairway,” he said.

“He was just trying to make pars. Clubs were slipping all over the place.”

Making pars has been the secret to this team, Watkins said. The Brahmas’ nonscoring sixth man on Monday, Chris Nijaworn, won the Hacienda League individual tournament title.

“All of these guys can go low on any day,” Watkins said. “Every guy can shoot in the 70s or below. Doing that (Monday) was huge.

“We’re peaking at the right time. I just sit on their coattails and let them go.”

Senior Jason Chen shot an even-par 71 and Dean Sakata a 1-over par 72 on Monday.

The top three teams from each of the seven divisional advanced to Thursday’s play.

Arcadia finished third in the Northern Division at Soule Park Golf Club in Ojai, shooting a 16-over par 376, 16 shots behind winner Westlake and one stroke behind second-place Oaks Christian. Rio Hondo League champion La Canada missed qualifying, finishing in fifth place.

The Apaches had four players in the 70s, led by Bryan Shin, who had a 1-under par 71 and tied for second place. Jonathon Lai shot a 73.

Damien finished second in the Southern region, six strokes behind winner Sunny Hills. The Spartans shot a 19-over par 374 at Tijeras Creek Golf Club in Rancho Santa Margarita.

Teammates Yu-Chuan Hsiang, who is a freshman, and Brandon Tsujimoto, Brandon, who is a senior, tied for second with 1-over par 72s. Freshman Shawn Tsai tied for eighth with a 74.

Other teams that missed a chance to advance to Thursday’s tournaments were Bishop Amat in the South Coast regional; St. Francis, Glendora and La Mirada in the Central regional; Bonita, La Serna, Los Altos and Walnut in the Western regional and San Marino in the Northern regional.

The top area players will play in CIF-SS individual tournaments on Monday.

Brahmas coach honored

The Diamond Bar girls finished second in the state, but that was good enough for Tony McCabe to be named the state’s coach of the year by the California Coaches Association.

McCabe has been the CIF-SS girls’ golf coach of the year two times, but this is his first statewide honor.

“We had such a great year and such a great team,” he said.

He will be honored June 15 in Fresno.


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